In the first days of this autumn, when the weather was still very pleasant, we set off on a road-trip to explore another part of Romania, this time among mountains and valleys, towering cliffs and tall firs, fairytale landscapes, places where the sky embraces the earth, with wavy paths crowned by clouds, crystalline rivers, playful waterfalls, stalls selling traditional food cooked with ingredients from the heart of nature.
We are talking about the Transfagarasan, which is said to be one of the most spectacular mountain roads in the world – tens of thousands of tourists visit it annually and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes.
One of the places that hosted us on this trip was Spell Hotels – a brand-new hotel, recently opened, at the foot of the mountains, in an extremely beautiful natural setting, in a rustic atmosphere but with modern amenities and high comfort.
We’ll tell you in this article about our experience, how we got there, if we slept well, what we ate at the traditional restaurant and how were the hosts. Let’s start:
Spell Hotels is a new construction completed in the summer of 2019 and has 25 spacious rooms, modernly equipped, with everything one might need for a successful stay.
The restaurant with traditional Romanian dishes, the covered terrace, the hospitality of the hosts, the private parking where the guests’ cars are safe – all contribute to the tranquility and relaxation you are looking for during your vacation.
For the future, the owners are planning to add to the existing facilities, a conference room and a SPA center, to meet the needs of all types of tourists: leisure, wellness or business, with services and facilities of superior quality.
The layout of the rooms follows a uniform line, being arranged in a mirror symmetry, two by two, and this is the only difference between them – all guests enjoy the same degree of comfort, the same decor and range of colors.
As we entered the room, we liked to step on the soft carpet, in a neutral and warm beige, very well matched with the rest of the pastel colors inside: green, gold, brown and white.
The big bed, with a very comfortable mattress, more pillows than we needed, immaculate and pleasant to the touch linen, contributed greatly to our restful sleep after a day full of hiking on the tops of the mountains.
On each side of the bed there are nightstands to keep everything you need handy, and what we liked most – sockets, many sockets! 😊 You already know that we travel with a lot of electronics and we really like our access to electricity. And as a bonus – a switch above the bed, so that disputes about who goes to turn off the light may not arise. 😊
There is also a spacious closet in the room, with a compartment for hangers and many shelves, and a stand to hang clothes at hand. In the closet we found two towels for each and a rug towel to get out of the shower.
In each room there is an LCD cable TV, for relaxing evenings or lazy mornings when you need a “good enough” reason to spend “just five more minutes” in the soft, warm bed.
Being a mountain hotel, surrounded by beautiful nature, with fresh and cool air, it would have been a pity for it not to have balconies. Fortunately, every room has one, it is a joy to admire from there the wonderful scenery, the clear sky and to breathe deeply the pure air.
Through the large windows, the room is bathed in natural, pleasant light, but if you like darkness… (by the way, did you know that the best sleep is in complete darkness, because only then is melatonin produced, also known as the “sleep hormone”, which ensures a good, healthy sleep, because it transmits to the brain the message that it is time to rest).
Anyway, let’s go back to what we were saying: if darkness is your thing when you’re sleepy, the big curtains will provide the perfect atmosphere to spend precious moments in bed in the morning, to gather all the power and energy needed to wander in the mountains after really waking up.
The bathroom was quite spacious, with a window, shower cabin, hand liquid soap and bath cosmetics, toilet paper, air freshener and a trash bin.
A cute message on the glass platter holding the shower gel and cap, made our evening even better: “Make your dreams happen!”
As we arrived at the hotel in the evening, very hungry and longing for something delicious, the traditional Romanian restaurant was the best place we could have been in right then.
The covered terrace with a romantic vibe and fresh, cool air, didn’t help us at all to decide easily what to eat, so we ordered a glass of wine and studied the rich menu at leisure.
In the end, we chose a traditional “bulz”, cooked with fresh local produce: polenta, sheep cheese, sour cream and pork.
And now, we’ve come to the most important part of this review: the desert! 😊 Those people make the most amazing “papanași”.! It’s the house recipe, so good that any trace of reason disappears after the first bite and you can eat until your stomach thinks you lost your mind. Fluffy dough cheese balls, homemade jam and fresh sour cream – a rather dangerous combination that, if you’re not careful, turns you into a huge fluffy ball. 😊
In the morning, at breakfast, you can choose from a series of goodies from the menu and the cook prepares them for you on the spot, fresh and tasty. Have you noticed that any food tastes way better when served outside, in the middle of nature?
How to get to Spell Hotels
Spell Hotels is located on strada Principală no.189A, in the village of Căpățâneni-Pământeni, Arefu commune, Argeș county, Muntenia region, Romania, at the foot of the mountains. It is right at the beginning of Transfagarasan road – or at the end, if you come from Transylvania, as we did.
Curtea de Argeș city is about 25 kilometers away, Râmnicu Vâlcea – about 60-70, depending on the route, and the breathtaking Lake Bâlea, is about 60 kilometers higher up on the mountain.
Public transport is not very developed in the area, so it’s best to have a car to properly explore the surroundings.
What to visit around
Spell Hotels is very well located, by the Argeș river, in an exceptional natural setting, with numerous mountain trails for great hikes and many sightseeing opportunities nearby. Besides the scenic Transfagarasan road – an experience you just can’t miss if you’re in the area, there are several sights to visit around the hotel, like Vidraru lake and dam and Vlad Țepeș’s fortress (the medieval Romanian ruler associated with Count Dracula, the vampire), also known as Poenari fortress.
Vidraru Dam is only a few minutes’ drive (7 kilometers) away from the hotel, and is a must-see in the area: a place where you feel so small surrounded by the greatness of nature and can stop for a moment to think about how lucky and privileged you are to exist and have the opportunity to enjoy such beauty.
The Poenari Fortress is even closer to Spell Hotels, just a 5-minute drive on a winding road guarded by the forest and cliffs. A valuable historical monument from the 14th century, the fortress was a secondary residence of the famous Vlad Țepeș. Unfortunately, we could only admire it from below, from the foot of the hill on which it is built, because when we visited, the road that leads to the fortress was closed due to high bear activity in the area.
What could be better?
Being a brand-new hotel, opened very recently, there would be some details to refine. Small things, like tables and chairs on the balcony to admire the beauty of the surrounding nature or a towel rack in the bathroom, would make the stay even more enjoyable and comfortable. However, the hosts assured us that they will deal with these issues in the near future, and we believe them! 😊
We enjoyed our stay at Spell Hotels and we recommend it. We would return there anytime, for the majestic nature, the fresh air, the welcoming and friendly hosts, for the comfortable rooms, but especially for the… papanași! 😊 We hope that until our next visit, the SPA center will be ready, as if the place isn’t relaxing enough already. 😊
Contact Spell Hotels:
For information regarding room availability and rates, see the contact details below:
Address: strada Principală no.189A, village of Căpățâneni-Pământeni, Arefu commune, Argeș county, Romania.
Phone: +40727 715 718
Facebook: Spell Hotels
* Please note that no compensation was received for this review, and the text was not pre-approved by the hotel. However, we were guests of Spell Hotels in Arefu. All opinions are our own and we only promote places and experiences that we love and believe would be useful to our readers.